By James Clay
Hale, July 2014
Rance Dehner, an operative for the Lowrie Detective Agency, pursues a wanted killer to the small town of Hardin, Texas. After bringing down the killer in a gunfight, Dehner discovers the gunslick was in town to murder Leona Carson, a penniless 14-year-old girl with a baby.
Dehner cannot understand why anyone would employ a gun for hire to kill Leona, and finding the answer to that question throws him into a whirlwind of violent encounters. Soon he must dodge bullets from an onslaught of professional killers, while uncovering the shameful secrets of Hardin’s leading citizens.
This is the second Black Horse Western from James Clay and the first I’ve read. The question of why someone would want such a young girl, who seems to be no threat to anyone, dead, is a perfect hook that kept me turning the pages. I soon had some suspicions as to the who, but the why remained a mystery.
James Clay does reveal who fairly early on but it seems this person isn’t working alone. The why is only revealed when the author wants the reader to know and this answer came as a surprise. Double-cross is also on the agenda.
Dehner makes for a likeable main character and after the conclusion of the story, which neatly tied up all the plot threads, I was left hoping that James Clay writes another tale about detective Dehner soon.
Wild West Detective at Amazon.com
Wild West Detective (Black Horse Western) at Amazon.co.uk